Pandemic Silver Linings

I am deeply humbled and would like to thank Profiles in Diversity Journal for the honor of this award. It is a testament to a personal philosophy reinforced by family and mentors that if you are prepared, accountable, professional, respectful, and kind, life fulfillment and happiness will be achieved.

While perhaps not a naturally optimistic person, I make a daily choice to go through life with a positive mindset. A colleague once created Kimberly’s Silver Linings Playbook and jotted down notes of positive remarks I had provided in response to difficult situations. Then the pandemic struck and brought unimaginable change to our lives. While I grieve for the lives lost, illnesses afflicted, missed human connections, and experiences our children were deprived of, I reflect on the unexpected working environment opportunities we received during these past two years.

I love my career and its focus on clients and people. I enjoy traveling to conferences and client sites, and interacting with professionals. Pre-pandemic, more often than not, my days were filled with battling traffic commutes and airport lines to reach my working destination. Once the pandemic hit, many of us quickly pivoted to find creative solutions to maintain productivity and connectedness with colleagues and clients, including leaning in to virtual meetings.

While each industry has a different experience, every company required a new level of innovative thinking and employee input to continue executing on its mission. New working styles proved that work goals could be achieved with added personal and corporate benefits. Without the daily commute, there were fewer expenses and more time to devote to new work deliverables. There was also additional time for personal goals, such as health and wellness, hobbies, and family involvement.

As the pandemic shifts, I am excited to return to a sense of normalcy, and have enjoyed returning to physical work sites and being in-person with clients and colleagues. What I hope will remain is for each of us to reflect on what is truly important to us, both personally and professionally, and to prioritize finding a way to achieve it, even if it is in a different way than the past two years.

What I hope will remain is avoiding working in a certain way just because that is what has always been done, and embracing the flexibility and nimbleness we have all shown to achieve personal and professional fulfillment, including continuing the momentum of a hybrid working environment. What I hope will remain is employers and employees communicating and collaborating together to find new, innovative ways to achieve greater levels of joint success.

Value yourself. Advocate for yourself. Embrace curiosity and possibility. Choose happiness.